Spain Checkup

Spain—Falling Behind

The EU Effort Sharing Emissions Calculator is a method used to implement the EU’s Emission Sharing Regulation, which is intended to help set emission reduction targets for member states. The Calculator uses a points system where points are awarded based on various factors. The countries are then ranked based on the number of points awarded. As of March 2017, only one country ranked lower than Spain, and Spain’s efforts to curb its carbon emissions were given a ranking of “very poor.”

The factors upon which a country is awarded points include a country’s starting point for determining projected 2021-2030 emissions, its stance on the land use loophole and ETS surplus loophole, its system for governing any adopted policies, and its ambition level, which is described as the following: “The ESR must set Europe on a path to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and hence contain a trajectory to reach at least 95% emission cuts by 2050 supported by, at a minimum, a 45% reduction in non-ETS sectors by 2030.” The Effort Sharing Emissions Calculator provides a rubric that explains how the exact number of points for each category is awarded. The maximum number of points a country can receive is 100 and the lowest possible number is 0. Sweden holds the ranking of first place with 67 points, while Spain has only 9 points. The text below from the Emissions Calculator analysis of Spain illustrates why Spain was awarded the 9 points:

Spain wants to weaken the Commission proposal on the emission reductions starting point by moving the start of the trajectory from 2020 to 2021. This would allow the release of an additional 249 Mt CO2 over the period in the EU as a whole compared to the Commission proposal.  Spain could improve its position by advocating for a starting point that better reflects actual emissions, and by ensuring that countries that do not meet their 2020 targets are not rewarded for underachieving. A limitation on how much surplus can be banked for use in future years would lead to further emission cuts.

Spain has so far pushed for a bigger role for forests in the ESR, above all to help with the difficult task to maintain and enhance the Mediterranean forest sinks. Spain wants to do so by further expanding the categories of forestry offsets that can be used to meet the ESR targets (by including forest management offsets), which would allow more greenhouse gas emissions Spain could improve its position by advocating for reducing or removing the option to use forestry offsets to meet the ESR targets.

Spain is not among the nine countries that in the Commission proposal are allowed to use surplus ETS allowances to meet their ESR targets but seems to support the Commission proposal.  Spain could improve its position by advocating for reducing or removing the option to use surplus ETS allowances
Spain seems to support the Commission proposal for 5-yearly compliance checks. Spain could improve its position by advocating for yearly compliance checks and financial penalties.

Spain accepts its 2030 climate target of 26% emissions reductions, but is not planning to go beyond it, nor does it have a long-term climate target. Spain could improve its position by supporting a higher domestic 2030 target (as its own Parliament recommends) and an ambitious long-term target.
In order to comply with the Paris Agreement, Spain may have to adopt some of the recommendations made above by Carbon Market Watch, including incorporating yearly compliance checks instead of 5-yearly checks, not advocating for the land use loophole, and by using the year 2020 as a starting point instead of the year 2021.

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Spain Emission Reduction Policy

Basque Environmental Framework Program

The Environmental Framework Program has been in place in the Basque region since 2002. It is a manifestation of the region’s holistic way of combating climate change. The Program’s goals are to protect the region’s natural resources and limit the impact of climate change on the region.
The Environmental Framework Program seeks to address current environmental problems, and in so doing  prevent future damage caused by climate change and other environmental problems. By putting preventive measures in place, the Basque region is investing resources now but avoiding large environmental related expenditures in the future.

The Environmental Program’s approach to climate change is focused on incentivizing business and consumers to increase the production and consumption of low-carbon and renewable energy sources. However it should be noted that the Framework addresses stopping climate change as part of a holistic set of environmental goals that also include protecting, conserving and restoring natural resources, fostering and protecting the health and well being of citizens, increasing economic sustainability, and integrating environmental goals into all government policies.

A distinguishing feature of the Environmental Framework Program is that it establishes a system for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the region’s environmental policies. The Program also emphasizes research and education related to the impact of climate change on the region’s environment.

The Basque Regional Environmental Framework Program is a policy model for preventing the damaging effects of climate change that could be scaled-up for use at a national level.

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Spain Extreme Weather Event

Extreme Droughts and Floods in Eastern and Southern Spain

Extreme weather has ravaged Spain in the last couple of years. Torrential rains and deadly floods plagued eastern and southern Spain in December of 2016 resulting in ten fatalities, school and highway closures, and massive amounts of damage. Conversely, Spain experienced extreme droughts in 2016 and 2014, where rainfall was only 25% of its normal levels. In June 2015, Spain experienced heat waves with some provinces reaching record temperatures. With such chaotic weather patterns, Spain’s economy has suffered, its population is uneasy, and the government has struggled to keep up with remedial measures.

While Spain frequently experiences dry spells, extended periods of drought have become more frequent and more severe. In recent years, Spain’s reservoirs have fallen to half or even 25% of their normal levels. The droughts have negatively impacted Spain’s economy since they hinder the ability to grow crops or raise livestock and deter tourism, which are some of Spain’s leading sources of income. Furthermore, Spain may find itself in a similar situation as it was during the drought of 2008, which was so severe that Spain was forced to import fresh water from France.

In December 2016, extreme flooding ravaged southern and eastern Spain. The region experienced days of endless rainfall that caused damage to buildings, infrastructure, and cars. The flooding claimed the lives of ten people, including one man who was swept out to sea. These floods led to speculation that rising sea levels due to global warming may have exacerbated the flood conditions.

As a result of the flooding, the Spanish government will be providing financial assistance to aid in reparations. While this measure will benefit many citizens who suffered damages in the floods, it does nothing to prevent future flooding. Additionally, the Spanish government is still recovering from its recent economic crisis. Providing this financial assistance will pose a further financial burden on the government. The reservoirs and dams that exist in Spain today were built during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco roughly half a century ago. The Spanish government may find that investing in the creation of new dams and reservoirs could prevent future flooding while also providing more sources of fresh water during periods of drought.

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Spain Media Organizations

Spain has both private and government-owned media organizations. Fortunately for the environment, even Spain’s government-owned radio and television channel, RTVE, warns of the implications of climate change and highlights the importance of the Paris Agreement. Two other media organizations that have covered the issue of climate change and the ratification process of the Paris Agreement are the internet-based La Voz Libre, and the newspaper El Mundo.

Content Samples:

In early November 2016, El Mundo ran a story stating that Isabel García Tejerina, the Minister of Agriculture, Fishing, Nutrition, & the Environment, had prioritized the ratification of the Paris Agreement. This story was important because the ratification process and its timeline could vary greatly depending on the urgency deemed by the government. A few days later, El Mundo published another article, in which it announced that the Paris Agreement had been presented to Spain’s Parliament for ratification. The article reiterated that the ratification of the Paris Agreement was considered an urgent matter, therefore expediting the process, and that the Agreement was expected to be ratified in early 2017.

El Mundo is owned by Unidad Editorial S.A., and the editor’s name is David Jiménez. The mailing address for the main office is Avenida de San Luis 25, 28033 Madrid. Two reporters who have historically covered stories relating to climate change or the Paris Agreement are Miguel G. Corral and Ana García Romero. While an email address or telephone number are not available, their Twitter handles are @miguelgcorral and @Anagarciarj.

In late November 2016, La Voz Libre published a story stating that Spain’s Congress had unanimously approved the Paris Agreement and that it had been submitted to the Senate for its approval. In late December, while Spain was still waiting for the Senate’s approval, La Voz Libre published another story that mentions Spain’s inability to elect a functioning government through much of 2016, and how its stalled politics had meant an entire year of no advancements in the way of combating climate change.
Also in November 2016, RTVE ran a story stating that Pablo Saavedra, Spain’s Secretary of State for the Environment, announced that Spain was in fact on track to ratify the Paris Agreement at the beginning of 2017. Furthermore, the story stated that the Paris Agreement would become legally binding since it had been ratified by enough countries to account for 55% of carbon emissions. As had been predicted, RTVE then ran a story in January 2017 announcing that Spain had ratified the Paris Agreement. The story’s tone is one of relief that Spain had acknowledged the importance of combating climate change, and goes so far as to claim that the Paris Agreement is conducive to international cooperation.

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La Voz Libre is run by Manuel Romero, who can be reached by telephone at 34 914 315498, or by mail at Isabel Colbrand 10, planta 5 of. 157, 28050 Madrid.

RTVE is owned by the Spanish government. While the direct lines or email addresses of any reporters are not available, the station can be reached by telephone at 91 581 70 00, by fax at 91 581 79 – 91 581 80, or by mail at Alcalde Sáinz de Baranda 92, 28007 Madrid

Spain Subnational Best Practices


The Basque Region—Spain’s Basque Region is arguably the most proactive region with regard to the environment and climate change. The Region has developed a Basque Environmental Strategy for Sustainable Development, publishes periodic reports on the state of its environment, and is home to the renowned Basque Center for Climate Change (BC3).

The Basque Environmental Strategy for Sustainable Development is composed of a series of Environmental Framework Programs (I-IV). The first Environmental Framework Program was implemented in 2002, and each lasts approximately three to four years. This allows the region to reevaluate what its problem areas are and what the most effective way of combating climate change is given any recent developments in technology or research.

The main objectives of the Environmental Framework Program are depicted in the image below:

The Basque Region periodically publishes its “State of the Environment of the Basque Country” report. As a result of this ongoing monitoring of the environment, the following conclusions can be made about the state of the environment in the Basque Region since the implementation of the Basque Environmental Strategy for Sustainable Development:

The Basque Center for Climate Change is home to some of the country’s most prolific scientists and environmentalists, including Maria Jose Sanz Sanchez, the Center’s Scientific Director.
Address: Sede Building 1, 1st floor, Scientific Campus of the University of the Basque Country, 48940 Leioa
Telephone: +34 94 401 46 90 ext. 178

Castile-Leon Region—Castile-Leon’s landscape is flat and elevated, which helps make it a leader in wind energy production and farming. This region is the country’s largest producer of wind energy with an installed wind power capacity of 5,560.01 MW. The large number of wind farms in Castile-Leon is mostly a result of the feed-in tariff scheme that Spain use to have. During Spain’s economic crisis, many of these feed-in tariff schemes were suspended. However, the wind farms that were built continue to function and Castile-Leon’s success in wind energy production could serve as an incentive to once again implement such policies as Spain recovers financially.

Being that Castile-Leon contains vast areas of farmland, it is essential to its environment that farm machinery be fuel-efficient. During its course, the PIMA TIERRA Plan encouraged swapping older, less efficient farm tractors for newer ones. This Plan was highly successful in Castile-Leon, and has aided in the reduction of carbon emissions.

The Castile-Leon region is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, many of which inhabit the Guadarrama Mountains. In 2013, the Guadarrama Mountains were named a national park, thus legally protecting the area. Furthermore, the Law 30/214 of 3 December on National Parks aims to “considerably strengthen and consolidate their protection.”

Within the autonomous Castile-Leon Regional government is the Ministry of Development of Environment. The Director’s name is Juan Carlos Suarez-Quinones.
Address: c/ Rigoberto Cortejoso, 14, 7th Floor – CP: 47014 – Valladolid
Telephone: 983 419 000


Madrid—The city of Madrid is the country’s capital and the largest in population with over three million inhabitants. As a result, Madrid has high levels of carbon emissions. Spain’s biggest cause of carbon emissions is transportation. In order to reduce its carbon emissions, Madrid is making an effort to streamline its methods of transportation and make them more environmentally friendly. One way of doing this is to implement hybrid buses into Madrid’s city bus fleet. In 2016, the city received 51 hybrid buses that are within the European Union’s suburban and short distance Class II regulations. Madrid has also adapted the ISO 14001, the internationally recognized Environment Management System, to its subway system in order to provide a guideline for its own procedures. Both of these measures aim to reduce carbon emissions in Spain’s most problematic sector, giving a renewed sense of hope for Spain’s environment and breathing fresh air into efforts that were stalled by the financial crisis.

The Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Environment has her office in the city of Madrid.
Address: Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz, Madrid
Phone: 91 597 60 68

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Spain Leaders and Opponents

Government Official
Isabel Garcia Tejerina
Minister of Agriculture, Food, and the Environment

As the Minister of the Environment, Ms. Garcia Tejerina will be tasked with ensuring that the Paris Agreement is implemented in Spain.

Contact: Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz, Madrid; Phone: 91 597 60 68

Climate Program Advocate
Maria Jose Sanz Sanchez
Scientific Director of the Basque Center for Climate Change

Maria Jose Sanz Sanchez is familiar with the topic of climate change and is an advocate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Basque Center for Climate Change is a highly respected organization in the environmental sector.


Climate Program Opponent
Miguel Arias Cañete
European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy

Miguel Arias Cañete could oppose the Paris Agreement based on his political history. He has ties to the oil sector, including shareholdings in oil companies and has said that he wants to turn the Mediterranean into a major gas marketplace. Mr. Arias Cañete has been under scrutiny for conflicts of interest, and in 2014, a petition was created to prevent him from assuming his role as European Commissioner.


Spain Leading Research Study

Research Study: The Energy Requirements of a Developed World, Energy for Sustainable Development Journal, May, 2016

The study called, “The Energy Requirements of a Developed World,” is among the most important climate change research studies conducted by a group of Spaniards. The researchers come from different institutions, ranging from environmentalists, engineers, and economists from the Basque Center for Climate Change and the Universidad del País Vasco respectively. This variation in academic backgrounds means that the argument presented in the publication is relevant to all fields of study.

The authors begin by stating that in order to truly understand the energy use of a country, we must take into consideration the international market of producing, buying, and selling goods. It is increasingly commonplace for a country that is considered “developed” to produce goods abroad in a “developing” country and then sell and consume them domestically. In other words, a developed country is consuming goods produced in a developing country. In this case, the developing country’s carbon emissions has increased while the developed country’s carbon emissions dropped even though the developed country is the one requiring that energy. The same is true with tourism. When citizens of a developed country visit a developing country and consume energy and transportation, those emissions will appear as though they were produced by the developing country. The article goes on to say that the total energy footprint produced globally is a more accurate depiction of any given country’s energy consumption than simply looking at the emissions produced within its territorial boundaries. This distinction that the article makes between a nation’s total energy footprint and the emissions produced domestically is important given the emphasis that the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement put on a country’s emission level. In order for the Paris Agreement to be truly effective, it must take into account the international markets and require participating nations to reduce their emissions domestically as well as abroad.

The authors then analyze the relationship between each country’s energy footprint and its human development index, and conclude that there is indeed a correlation between a higher level of energy use and a higher standard of living. The authors calculate what amount of energy use would be required to achieve a “developed world standard” for all countries and find that it would call for a 33% increase based on data from 2012. Taking into consideration the expected continued population increase, it would take a 70% increase to sustain a high standard of living for the global population in 2050.

This study is important for Spain, especially given its attempt to climb out of economic recession. First, Spain is already forecasted to have difficulty meeting its future emissions targets, and must be cautious with regard to its energy demands and consumption. Second, Spain’s ability to get ahead financially may depend on being able to produce goods cheaply. Since goods can be produced cheaply in developing countries, energy that is used for Spain’s ultimate consumption may be reflected in the emissions of a developing country. If the total energy footprint of countries participating in the Paris Agreement comes under evaluation, Spain will not be any farther ahead than it currently is in achieving its target emissions, especially since it has one of the biggest consumer populations in the European Union. Finally, given Spain’s economic crisis and its recent political crisis, its population has seen just a small fraction of what life is like for those living in countries with low standards of living. The high unemployment rate and lack of functioning government should make the Spanish population sensitive to the issue faced by the populations of developing countries. It is not only in Spain’s best interest but also in the best interest of the global population for Spain to reduce its consumption.

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“The Energy Requirements of a Developed World,” Energy for Sustainable Development Volume 33. August 2016.

Spain Emissions Reduction Policy

Spain: The Spanish Strategy of Climate Change and Clean Energy (EECCEL) and The Sustainable Economy Act

In Spain, two of the most well known national policies affecting greenhouse gas emissions are the Spanish Strategy of Climate Change and Clean Energy (EECCEL) and the Sustainable Economy Act. While Spain has had many challenges in reducing its carbon emissions and sustaining growth in the renewable energy sector due to its recent economic crisis, these two policies show promise that Spain is still dedicated to a future with cleaner energies.

The Spanish Strategy of Climate Change and Clean Energy was put into place in 2007 and is expected to run until 2020. Its policies, which were formally implemented in 2008, aim to reduce greenhouse gases, promote research, educate the Spanish population, reduce energy consumption, and encourage the development of clean energies. Additionally, the EECCEL has a section entirely dedicated to the challenges of reducing emissions in the transportation sector. The success of the EECCEL is difficult to pinpoint since some of its policies were unfortunately taken out of effect in 2012 due to the country’s economic issues, such as the Feed-in Tariff scheme. However, the Strategy as a whole remains in place and its success is currently being monitored using such indicators as greenhouse gas emissions at regional and national levels, energy consumption in public administration buildings, the number of municipalities with their own climate change strategies, and more. Although Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the statistics alone reflect a bleak situation, it is important to remember that the Central Government of Spain was needed in order to pass the EECCEL and therefore, the urgency of implementing effective environmental policies is very much a priority for the government.

The concept of the Spanish Strategy of Climate Change and Clean Energy came out of the need to provide a type of environmental common ground among the national government, autonomous communities, provinces, and municipal levels of government. The political atmosphere in Spain is often tense because of some regions’ long history of fighting for autonomy. As a result, the different regions of Spain have quite a bit of independence in choosing which policies will be enacted in their own governments. The EECCEL is in part meant to provide a reference for the standard of environmental politics in Spain and, as a whole, the autonomous communities have done an excellent job of enacting their own policies that adhere to the standard. Clearly, the EECCEL is unique to Spain, and if another country wanted to adopt it, that country would need to take into account its own political atmosphere in order to retain its effectiveness.

The Sustainable Economy Act was approved by Parliament in 2011 and is expected to run until 2020. The purpose of the Act is to boost Spain’s economy and to prevent another economic crisis. Specifically, it will encourage innovation and efficiency in the renewable energies industry, support research efforts, minimize energy dependency, facilitate the creation of companies, foster growth, and enable Spain to compete in the international market.

The success of the Sustainable Economy Act is being measured using the goals depicted in the image below.



The policy came out of efforts to prevent another economic fallout and to help Spain recover from its current situation. The Sustainable Economy Act could likely be adopted by another country facing similar circumstances. The way in which any other country would adopt it would depend on which topics need attention. In Spain, the major issues affecting the economy are the unemployment rate and energy dependency. Another country wanting to adopt similar legislation would need to identify its areas of focus.

The Sustainable Economy Act and the Spanish Strategy of Climate Change and Clean Energy prove that the Spanish government is dedicated to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, and finding ways to improve their economy and international standing in the process.

The anticipated effect of the Act has been calculated and is summarized in the image below.


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Spain Energy Production Trends

How The Energy System Is Structured

The National Energy Commission is partially responsible for regulating the energy industry in Spain. The National Energy Commission (or Comisión Nacional de Energía) is a part of the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Tourism. It is meant to aide in the regulation of the energy industry, but does not function as an independent government agency. However, it mostly provides consultation since it has no legislative power. This means that any legislation regarding the Spanish energy sector is left to the Central Government. If a new energy policy will affect current legislation in Spain, the Parliament must vote on whether or not to enact the policy. Once the legislation is enacted, the National Energy Commission then oversees its execution.


In Spain, the energy industry is privately owned. Only 1% of oil and gas is domestically produced in Spain, meaning that the vast majority of its fossil fuels must be imported. Gas Natural is the clear dominator of the oil and gas industry, and even owns Union Fenosa, an electricity supply company. Because Spain is home to many windy plains, it is a large producer of wind energy. Other large players in the electricity sector include Iberdrola, Endesa, and Red Eléctrica de España (REE), of which the government owns a 20% stake. The benefits of wind energy are many for Spain since it means less reliance on other countries to import fossil fuels, and of course it is a clean energy that would help Spain lower its greenhouse gas emissions

Energy Sources

Overall, fossil fuels account for the majority of energy production in Spain. However, these numbers can be slightly misleading since, despite the setbacks in the renewable energy sector as a result of an economic crisis, renewable and “alternative” energies still make up 22.6% of total energy use. Furthermore, renewable energies have a firm place in the production of electricity. Recent data shows wind power accounting for 21% of electricity production, and hydropower accounting for up to 19%.[1] While Spain still has a ways to go in order to meet its environmental health targets, it appears to be on the right track.



Profiles of Leading Energy Companies

Grupo DISA: A relatively “up and coming” company, Grupo DISA (Distribuidora Industrial SA) provides gas for automobiles, as well as propane and butane for home and business use. Originally a company that was meant to provide development to the Canary Islands, Grupo DISA surprised the country when they purchased over 300 Shell gas stations in Spain in 2004.[2] This purchase more than doubled their properties and solidified Grupo DISA’s presence as a frontrunner in the industry. Grupo DISA is also responsible for pioneering the concept of the residential propane tank in Spain. Largely used for cooking, prices for 35 kg tanks of propane are currently at 59.80 Euros, and prices for 11 kg tanks are at 9.54.[3] In 2015, Grupo DISA began to expand into renewable energies, although natural gas and propane remain its biggest assets. The company bought a solar panel production plant, which now makes it the biggest producer of solar panels in the Canary Islands.[4] Grupo DISA serves several thousands of automobile owners, homeowners, and now those interested in solar panels. It appears as though Grupo DISA has set itself up for continued success and expansion in the future. The terms of the Paris Agreement and their effect on Grupo DISA, however, remain to be seen, since this company would continue to elevate Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next five to ten years.

Grupo DISA is taking certain measures to try to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. First, the purchase of a solar panel production plant is a clear move toward renewable energies. Second, Grupo DISA is working on the development of a biofuel made from the jatropha plant, which is readily available in the Canary Islands. The efforts made in relation to natural gas and propane are less clear: Grupo DISA claims it sells “autogas,” a cleaner burning fuel. Finally, the company states that it has an integrated policy for Security, Health, & the Environment. [6]

Grupo DISA has a lot to lose with Spain’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. First, the burning of fossil fuels would only further distance Spain from its target emission levels. Second, much of Grupo DISA’s business is selling fuel for cars and transportation. The transportation sector is Spain’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and efforts are being taken to reduce consumption in this area, which would mean less business for Grupo DISA. Furthermore, Spain has recently implemented the Efficient Vehicle Incentive Program and the Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which encourages the use of vehicles that are more energy efficient.

Gamesa: Gamesa is a wind energy company with a worldwide presence. Having capitalized on the windy plains of Andalucía, Gamesa has installed up to 263 wind farms worldwide with an annual production of 7,460 MW.[5] Wind energy has a very clear presence in Spain, especially in electricity production. As a result, Gamesa should benefit from the terms of the Paris Agreement, and continue to grow since, being a clean energy source, Gamesa would help Spain lower its greenhouse gas emissions over the next five to ten years.

Gamesa suffered as a result of recent budget cuts to the renewable energy industry. However, moving forward, policies relating to the Paris Agreement should benefit Gamesa because it offers an energy source that would greatly reduce Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Andrea Delmar Senties

Spain Emission Reduction Challenges

Leading Emission Reduction Challenges: (a) Rising consumer and/or industrial energy demand; (b) Political and economic crises


Current Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels

The most recent credible data contains information from 2012, which indicates that Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions were at 346.1.[i] Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions have actually decreased since 2000—most likely a result of efforts in the renewable energies industry. However, with a 20% increase in emissions since 1990, Spain still has one of the largest emissions increases in the European Union as of 2014.[ii]


Emission Reduction Challenges

There are two reasons why Spain’s recent economic crisis has set back progress in reducing its GGH emissions: 1) It completely derailed the progress that Spain had made in moving toward renewable sources of energy, 2) As Spain attempts to recover from its financial crisis, its largest sector of greenhouse gas emissions (transport) may continue to increase in activity and thus, increase its level of emissions.

1) Prior to its economic crisis, Spain was making a great deal of progress in moving towards renewable sources of energy, namely wind, biomass, and hydropower. However, the financial crisis caused the Spanish government to make large budget cuts and unfortunately, the renewable energy industry suffered as a result of these cuts: the feed-in tariff policy was suspended, subsidies were removed, new taxes were implemented, premiums to current producers were reduced, and a moratorium on premiums for new ventures was implemented. Naturally, this brought the development of Spain’s blossoming renewable energy sector to a halt, and it has far from recovered.[iii] From the years 2005 to 2011, renewable energies grew a cumulative 8.5% and in fact, accounted for 30% of the energy produced (versus fossil fuels at 49%).i,iii However, the economic crisis put such a dent in the progress of renewable energies that in order to meet the 2020 target under the Kyoto Protocol, the industry will need to grow at an annual rate of 4.8% from 2011 to 2020—a nearly impossible task.

2) Spain has by no means recovered from its economic crisis; however, the unemployment rate has dropped slightly.[iv] Since the dip in greenhouse gas emissions circa 2010 has been attributed in part to unemployment in Spain—being that one of the biggest emitters is transportation accounting for over 50% of total energy consumption—the increase in the workforce will also mean an increase in transportation and thus greenhouse gas emissions.[iii,v]

For now, Spain intends to limit its greenhouse gas emissions by focusing mostly on decreasing consumption. The government has implemented the Energy Saving and Efficiency Strategy and set forth the Efficient Vehicle Incentive Program, along with several other measures directed at the transportation and housing industries. The Energy Efficiency Action Plan, also implemented by the Spanish government, will encourage the shift to transporting both people and goods by railroad and sea, and will encourage the replacement of older, less efficient vehicles with newer ones.

While attempting to reduce energy consumption alone will not allow Spain to meet its target levels of greenhouse gas emissions, it certainly is a start. The government initiatives to limit consumption indicate that the issue of climate change is indeed a priority to politicians, which is essential in ensuring the ratification of the Paris Agreement.

Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Andrea Delmar Senties


Useful Resources

[i] European Environment Agency. Climate and Energy Country Profiles, 2013.

[ii] European Environment Agency. Total greenhouse gas emission trends and projections, 2014.

[iii] The London School of Economics and Political Science, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

[iv] Trading Economics. Spain Unemployment Rate.

[v] European Environment Agency. GHG trends and projections in Spain.